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Posted by Geoff on August 18, 2002 at 09:16:23:
I live in England and have been keeping and breeding crickets for almost 20 years.
During recent years I've tried to help people on several forums whose crickets have died quickly for no obvious reasons. In several cases I've been mystified why they died and concluded that something must have been seriously wrong with the way they were being kept but the reasons were far from clear.
In January of this year I could no longer afford the time (due to family illness) to maintain my own cricket breeding colony so had to rely on buying them. All the crickets I bought were seemingly healthy but died very quickly for no apparent reason even though I was keeping them the same way I had always done without any problems. I concluded that the crickets must have been suffering from a disease when I bought them.
I have now learned that my suspicions were correct. Here is an extract from a letter from one of the main livefood producers in the UK.
Early this year a virus which attacks the common Brown or House cricket, Acheta domesticus, reached England from continental Europe. It has spread to most comercial breeders of live foods in this country, and will probably cause the general cessation of the breeding of this species by the end of the year. It has already caused widespread shortages and uncertainty of supply.
The virus first affected breeders in Germany, where production has now effectively ended, as it has proved impossible to sustain large scale production. We anticipate the same effect here, as the virus has proved persistent, has spread rapidly and so far no alteration of methods or treatment has affected a cure.
I am posting this information in case it's of interest to any of you who have had difficulty keeping crickets alive despite providing everything they need to sustain them.
Further details can be found at: http://www.reptileweb.co.uk/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=news;action=display;num=1029516491.
The main board is at: http://www.reptileweb.co.uk/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl .